Gov. Lamont cracks down on bars masquerading as restaurants amid pandemic restrictions

Hartford

(WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont says it’s very important for businesses to adhere to the COVID-19 health restriction rules especially those in the “red zones” where COVID cases are high, like in Fairfield and Hartford.

Gov. Lamont says it’s becoming a problem and local health departments will be looking at potentially closing businesses for more than just a few days.

The Brickyard Pub on the Post Road in Fairfield remains closed after health inspectors fined the owner $600 for COVID-19 health safety violations over the weekend.

Captain Robert Kalamaras from Fairfield Police says health inspectors, “found a large group gathering in addition to people violating the governor’s orders for masks.”

The health department also cited the owner for having more than the 75% capacity allowed indoors.

Bars are only allowed to be open if they serve food.

There were customers eating. But authorities say there was also a large crowd outside waiting to get in. No one was wearing a mask.

Captain Kalamaras said, “that was a red flag to go over there.”

At a press conference Monday, State Representative Steve Stafstrom said he had gotten reports about the Brickyard Pub “anecdotally from folks over the last couple of weekends, [the bar] has been packing people in intentionally violating the executive orders trying to put shades down to not get caught.”

The owner, Jennifer Wilson denies those allegations and says she’s frustrated. Wilson hired doormen for crowd control and agreed to close the patio early because of noise complaints. Adding staff ask customers to wear masks. She is now working on an online reservation system and a new layout to maintain social distancing.

Meantime, Hartford officials also shut down the popular Russian lady, claiming they were advertising dance parties and not adhering to the COVID rules.

“These are bars masquerading as restaurants. people are flagrantly disregarding the key protocols and you end up with an outbreak,” said Lamont.

He went on to say, “Hats off to our local public health and municipal officials taking this seriously. As you know they have the right to fine. They have the right to shut these facilities down, at least until they take corrective measures. And I’m hopeful that strict enforcement…I’d like to see the restaurant association [say] ‘hey c’mon team, we’re going to ruin this for everybody if we cant take care of ourselves.'”

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